Innovation, courage and the forces of evil. We all love a good story, and Compass Box's clash with the SWA regarding Spice Tree and the use of inner staves is almost legendary. On the nose, a potpourri of herbal and spicy flavors is enriched by grapefruit, toffee and candle wax. The punchy and aromatic arrival is led by chili pepper, ginger and a good amount of oak. Sweet and sour notes creep in, followed by lemon zest, nutmeg and parsley. Walnuts, resin and distant vanilla mark the long and peppery-dry finish. Kudos to John Glaser for creating this malt!
The name doesn't lie, it's spicy alright. Although it doesn't rock a precious age statement on the label, a very helpful lady from the folks at the CB told me the following in an email: The Clynelish, Dailuaine and Teaninich are all around 10 years old when they are blended before being filled into our custom barrels. They are then aged for a further 2 years before being bottled. This means that most Spice Tree is 12 years old when bottled. (2021 edit - now that CB have sneakily implied the age in their diagrams - later batches seem to be consisted of mostly 9yo with a bit of some slightly older malt. See their website)
Apple cobbler, beeswax, fresh pears. The nose is sharp and light in character.
Vanilla ice cream with a lot of raisins soaked in rum. A touch of clove and Ceylon black tea. Water brightens it up, brings grass and freshly sawn wood to the game.
This was a sample courtesy of Peatbogger and Slainte Mhath by the sounds of it. I liked this a lot more second time around and I think it's because I'm a bit more experienced and can appreciate it more. It is what it says on the bottle and won't be for everyone.
Toffee, dates, oregano, pepper, honey and ginger. This is what I was expecting because I've had it before, be it a long time ago. It's along those lines anyway. Oatmeal biscuits, wet cardboard and pencil. I really like this it has a lot going on and with the nose a bit more experienced, I'm picking up a lot more.
Wow! Spice Tree? More like Spice Forest. It's like crunching into one of those rock hard ginger biscuits. I want to say spice overload but it is surrounded by other flavours that attract your attention away. More of those dates with Fisherman's Friend lozenges.
The spice calms down very quickly and leaves just enough to linger with black pepper on the death.
Caramel, herbs, pears, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, honey, chocolate, oak spice, touch of citrus. Lovely fruitiness on the palate. Oily mouthfeel and a lingering finish. A tiny amount of water and the whisky starts singing. Expertly put together blended malt. Beautiful.
Another Compass Box which is nice at nose, but hardly drinkable. Nose is banana, caramel, honey, fresh grass, pineapple, a little of oak. Taste is peppery, honey, fruits, lemon. Finish is bitter, oaky, burned sugar.